The European Union has decided to go after a certain number of high-consumption products that are damaging the environment. The decision was made on March 27, agreed upon by a large majority of European deputies.
From 2021, all disposable products made of plastic will be banned in the European Union. These new measures target day-to-day products such as Q-tips, Tupperware and utensils, straws, and other common household products.
Manufacturers are also invited to devise packaging that is more environmentally friendly. Oxydegradable plastics, which are falsely labeled as biodegradable, will also be banned. Another goal of this law is to reuse and recycle up to 90% of plastic bottles produced in Europe between now and 2029.
Pollute-and-pay principle applied to the tobacco industry
Frédérique Ries, the author of the law, has insisted on the dangers that plastics pose to our planet and thus to humanity as a whole. The Belgian deputy highlighted the importance of reacting quickly. 560 out of 623 members approved the law, with 28 abstentions.
Tobacco manufacturers will also be affected by these new measures. By 2023, Big Tobacco must pay the cost of the collection and recycling of tobacco filters. A single cigarette butt can contaminate up to 1,000 liters of water, and every second, an estimated 137,000 cigarette butts are thrown into nature. Indeed, cigarette filters are considered the second worst pollutant after plastics.
Recently, the Brussels-Capital region of Belgium decided on a pollute-and-pay principle. The Belgian municipality sent a 200,000 Euro invoice to three major cigarette manufacturers, including Philip Morris, in October 2018. The number represents the costs of cleaning up cigarette butts over the last ten years.